The Brisbane school so overcrowded its playground time is rostered

Jul 16, 2020

By Tony Moore

Lunch-hour play on the oval for children at the 150-year-old Ironside State School is staggered into three groups because the school is so crowded.

The heritage-listed school, which in June marked its 150th anniversary, now has 1115 students but a capacity of 800, according to its Parents and Citizens group, and the strain shows.

Ironside State School parent Michaela Sargeant says time on the school oval is divided into three because there are too many students.

Ironside State School parent Michaela Sargeant says time on the school oval is divided into three because there are too many students.CREDIT:TONY MOORE

Ironside's enrolment management plan says the school has "experienced exceptional, unabated growth in its school population".

Combine a fast-growing university with 35,000 students and 5000 employees with a large increase in apartments and there is a massive squeeze on schools for their children.

Pick-up hour is a gridlock of parents, children and cars.

That is one reason the Queensland government announced on Tuesday a new primary school would be built somewhere in Brisbane’s inner west, in addition to new schools at Caloundra, Logan/Greenbank and Coomera.

However, it looks like a new western suburbs high school is also needed, with Indooroopilly State High School having 16 year 7 classes.

More than 1100 students are enrolled at Ironside State School. The school has a capacity of 800, parents say.

More than 1100 students are enrolled at Ironside State School. The school has a capacity of 800, parents say.CREDIT:TONY MOORE

Ironside mum Aliandra Nasif said Ironside State School was a very good school, but there were simply too many students.

Ms Nasif said dividing the time on the oval did not suit all students.

"They have segmented break times. So not all of them go on a break at the same time," Ms Nasif said.

The crowded school pick-up at Ironside State School.

The crowded school pick-up at Ironside State School.CREDIT:TONY MOORE

"My kids adapted well to the troubles. But I know of some other kids who don’t really cope and they prefer smaller schools.

"If their parents are able to afford private school, they take them there.

"It is not because of the academic reasons, it is just because of the numbers. They want space, basically."

Another parent, Michaela Sargent, said assemblies were divided because there were too many students to fit into the assembly hall.

"They have a junior school assembly and a senior school assembly. It is just not big enough to accommodate the whole school."

Ms Sargent said the lunch break was staggered because there were so many students.

"As you can imagine, you cannot have 1100 students out there running around playing soccer at the same time.

"What my husband and I and other families try to do is do as many extra-curricular sports activities as we can to burn off that energy.

"At some stage we are going to need a new school to accommodate all the children moving into the apartments."

Parents say a new state school is the tip of the iceberg and Brisbane's western suburbs badly need a new secondary school as well.

"My other daughter is at Indooroopilly State High and that has 2300 students as far as I am aware," Ms Sargent said.

Official enrolment figures show just more than 2000 students.

"My child started in year 7 this year and there are 16 year Seven classes," Ms Sargent said.

"They are building a new multi-purpose hall, but what they really need is a new prep to year 12 school in this area somewhere."

Even tiny Toowong State School is choked, with demountable classrooms in the play area.

Toowong State School mother Francesca Reddington's daughter began the petition calling for a new western suburbs school before she completed Toowong State School and shifted to Indooroopilly.

Ms Reddington said Toowong State School was an excellent Auslan school helping deaf students.

"About one-third of the cohort is deaf or part of the deaf community, so they have a bilingual, bicultural program," she said.

Tiny play space at Toowong State School.

Tiny play space at Toowong State School.CREDIT:TONY MOORE

"It is the only one in Queensland where they have dedicated Auslan classes."

But she said the school was jammed.

"It is completely built out up there.

"It was a small oval and they put all these demountable buildings on there so there is just this tiny little piece of grass.

"It is just ridiculous."

The post about “The Brisbane school so overcrowded its playground time is rostered" first appeared on the Brisbane Times website.

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